Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Recap

I don't even know where to begin.

So much has happened but at the same time nothing has happened. May has been a month of mornings in the garden eating breakfast and playing "teapots" and nights running around the yard with sticky fingers and faces and bare feet. Our days are spent running errands around town, going for walks, going to daycare, and playing non-stop with your "friends" meaning all your stuffed animals and dolls.

You are officially out of diapers. But in Pull Ups or we prefer the other brand: Easy Ups. For Ms. Patti, you have completely dry days. You go to daycare in the same pair of Easy Ups you come home in. Not only do you tinkle in the potty for her but you also make "stinky potty" (I don't think that name needs any further explanation). You can pull your pants and "underwear" up and and down by yourself. In fact, when I took you potty on Sunday, I was following you into the bathroom when you abruptly shut the door in my face. When I knocked, you exclaimed: "Going potty Mommy!" Each time you use the potty, you find it time to brag about your "accomplishment." Your father and I sing and dance and clap in response to your joy. We are proud of you. You are proud of you. I would be even more proud of you if you went stinky potty for us and not just Ms. Patti. Although, the other day, Ms. Patti gave you some privacy to make your stinky potty and she came back to find you playing in the potty. An entire outfit change and body scrubbing (including under the nails! Ick!) was necessary. I have been nauseous lately from your enormous little sister pushing on my stomach so I am relieved that your poop exploration was there and not here.

I found myself watching videos of you on Saturday night. Whew! Big weekend for us! You have matured so much even in the last 2 months. You can carry on conversations proficiently now. You pick up on humor and nuances that were foreign to you only last month. Today, in the dressing room where Becca was trying on graduation dresses, you excitedly point up and exclaim, "Oh THREE!" THREE!" I was eating ice (a frequent pass time of mine lately to stay cool, hydrated and less nauseous)and I began to choke when I looked up. Becca had three dresses with her so the number 3 was hanging on the hook to let the sales lady know how many dresses we had. Besides being able to identify some numbers (so far 1, 2 & 3 are your most consistent, after I tested your skill in the dressing room with other plastic number tags), you can identify some letters, like A, O, N, C. Your colors are not being mastered as fast, you are good some days and off others. You have shapes down. The most difficult shapes you have mastered are rectangles and ovals. I am surprised you can distinguish them from their close relatives, squares and circles, but you can.

You can draw a circle and a straight line. On your homework, you have to circle the same shape or draw a line from the three kittens to the number three. You can do both. However, Ms. Patti wants you writing in pencil and you insist on using pens. We are planning on going shopping to pick out some spiffy pencils so you will be more motivated to use them.

Lately, you have been getting out of bed and making your way outside to play. The neighbors have found you wandering around our backyard after bedtime (twice, maybe three times). Sneaking by your father and I, you take the route that we are least likely to see / hear you. I thought it would be harder for you to escape to the backyard once we closed the sliding screen door to turn on the AC. Nope. You just use the dog door. I found you out on the deck this afternoon, passing your dolls through the dog door.

You are confident. You have this sense of self and mischievous way about you. It is obvious you understand how to act to get what you want. You love to engage to others in your games of woo. An old man commented today about how incredibly tiny you were but how adult you behave. Most people think you are almost three instead of freshly two. We switched pediatricians since I was not up for the monthly visits with your sister with an hour and half round trip car ride. We saw a doctor in town. It took 12 minutes round trip to travel there. You got a clean bill of health. The best part was there were no shots! And you won't need any more vaccines until 4!!! I won't mention we have to go for bloodwork since we live a 111 year old house. We love living in a historic downtown but the whole lead thing is a concern.

You were in the town's Memorial Day parade yesterday. Nonni and Nonna came to see you. We went to the neighbors for brunch and fun and another house for a delicious dinner bbq. It is rather ironic that you make friends for us. But most who has fallen for your charm, are not children. On the contrary, all adults. So many people love you and know you in our town. I get the "Oh hi! So you're Nora's mom" at least once a week. On Saturday night, we were out with Grandma and Grandpa at the world's worst singing show, you were at home being babysat by Becca. I was introduced to a group of people as Nora's mom. You weren't even with me! People in the group, knew who you were but not me! All adult women! The woman introducing me apologized and said, "Isn't it awful, I don't remember your name but I remember Nora's!" I smiled and said, "Nora is pretty unforgettable" and everyone laughed because they know it's true. You don't forget names. You remember who people are and you say hello with their name and give them hardy hugs and wave as if they were your long-lost best friend. You make everyone feel loved and special. It's a gift, I suppose. Anyway, we received a dinner invite last night because of you. We had a grand time.

All in all, we are plugging along and I am grateful for no major events or news.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Today I left for work before you woke and came home too late to pick you up at daycare. I walked in the door and Daddy was making dinner and you were playing with Becca. You excitedly shouted "Mommy!" and it made the rush hour commute melt away. You then divulged, no lie, into a 20 minute description of your day. No time-outs, you went tinkle in the potty, you played with Kayla and Katie Mae and Owen and Braden and all your friends. You went to school and said the pledge, months, days of the week, ABCs and 123s. You sang songs for me and told me you talked about outdoors in school; did I know trees and birds live outside?!? After dinner you proceeded to play and engage in imaginative scenarios involving lots of ring-around-rosy, nap times and cars that were too loud and woke up the dolls. We went for a walk with the dogs and you chatted about squirrels and playhouses and all the other people walking. In a nutshell, you were this happy, healthy kid.

Then it hit me. I'm the issue. I am projecting fear and anxiety and you are picking up on it. How did you have this awesome day after a string of irrational-emotionally ridden days? The only thing different about today was me.

I admit it. I am having alot of fears and anxiety about the future. For the first time in my life, I don't have a clear picture of where I'm going. I re-think the decision to become a stay-at-home mom almost daily. I have built a strong, respectable career. I spent years and years in school perfecting my understanding of my craft. I worry about fiances and being able to afford to give you and your sister everything you need and more. For the first time, I am making a life changing decision based not entirely on myself. What if it's the wrong choice? What if I'm unhappy? Will you understand that my choice to stay home to care and raise my children was not some antiquated gesture where the husband is the bread winner and the wife takes care of the home? Life choices for women are multiple and varied. I admit to taking a more traditional route of the school-career-marriage-baby thing but that doesn't mean it's right for you or your sister. I want to instill in both of you the ability to make decisions not based on societal norms or traditions but on what the right choice for your life is. Sometime, ask your father about his route to where we are today. It's much more round-about, funny, and rich than my experience will ever be. Sometimes I am envious.

I do not want to fail. Failing at school or a job is terrible, but redeemable. Failing a child is in a whole other dimension. I pray you and your sister will thrive with me as the primary care giver. God help us all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Even Google has a bad day

I have a love affair with all that is Google. Whenever a teacher complains that their Internet is down, I ask, "can you get to Google?" Google is a constant. It always works. Except for this past Thursday.

You are like Google, a constant in my life. You have become quite dependable / predictable... except lately. You have become an emotional mess. You cry at the drop of the hat, like when someone tells you no. You cry hysterically when I drop you off at daycare, clinging to my legs like you will never see me again. You shy away from cashiers at stores, you don't like to say hello back to a stranger who has instigated a conversation with you. All of this is very abnormal for you. This behavior just started in the past couple of weeks. We don't understand where the hyper-emotional state has come from, and it's not all the time. You seem to pick and choose when you want to turn into a basketcase.

According to BabyCenter, two is the age when you really begin to understand how big and scary the world can be while craving independence. It becomes overwhelming for a toddler to try to balance fears and new found independence. The website article reports that such a time is marked with an increased attachment to a lovie. In your case, your blanket, which has become inseparable from you and has begun to give off a not-so-pleasant odor. When I do wrangle it away to wash, you become very anxious and as a result we have to visit your blanket in the basement while it "drives" in the washer and dryer. I think you say drive because it goes around in a circle... not really sure.

You have all these new fears of being pinched. Today, you told me a leaf pinched you. You love the itsy bitsy spider and the spider puppet and looking at pictures of spiders but when you saw an actual spider on the side of your playhouse, you freaked out. You also have a fear of worms, ants, trash trucks and the birds at Home Depot who live in the rafters. However, once your father or I explain and demonstrate that there is nothing to be afraid of, your anxiety usually subsides. Now you hear a trash truck and proudly exclaim such, but if one gets close, you need to be clinging to some part of your father or I. You are curious and want to look and explore but you want us there reassuring you that nothing will harm or pinch you.

Your independence is becoming more and more pronounced as you have more and more emotional breakdowns. You have this saying: "Me do it!" or my favorite, "Me by myself!" You have to put on your shoes, buckle your carseat, drink out of cup on your own. Today you opened your umbrella (child's size) walked out to the car, closed the umbrella, got up into the car, into your carseat and buckled yourself. I told you I wasn't ready for all of this. You smiled in this devious manner, knowing full well that this is only the beginning.

There is a definite correlation between the increased independence and the emotional breakdowns. I left you screaming at Ms. Patti's on Thursday (the day Google proved it too has bad days), I missed a phone call from Ms. Patti late in the afternoon. I thought for sure something had happened and you were either sick or hurt. But no, Ms. Patti wanted to share with us that you had decided you wanted use the potty all day. You would let Ms. Patti know that you had to go and you went! You didn't use your diaper once! You even pooped in the potty! That night we were so proud of you but you were an emotional mess and we had to put you to bed early. Apparently, all that potty independence left you emotionally spent.

BabyCenter promises this stage will pass with lots of understanding, support and reassurance from us. Advice that has worked is when you are on the verge of a meltdown, we simply offer you an explanation or compromise. You can cognitively understand simple reasoning and future cause and effect. "If you clean up these toys then you will get a pack of gummies." Or "we can't go to the park now because we have to wait for Grandma to get here. Once she does, then we will go the park." You don't forget what we say either. You remember and remind us of things we talked about. All in a few weeks, you have become so independent and easier to hold a conversation / compromise with.

Your brain must be exhausted because mine certainly is.

The pictures were recycled from April. I have been slacking on uploading pictures from our camera. I have been dealing with an over-emotional toddler lately. Forgive me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dancing Fiend

You have become obsessed with singing, dancing and music in general. Don't believe me? I have been documenting the proof for awhile now:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the Fourth

Star Wars Day. May the Fourth Be With You.

Daddy woke me up this morning exclaiming, "merry Star Wars day!" He then went to work wearing his favorite Star Wars t-shirt and wished everyone a very merry Star Wars day. Obviously no one has ever heard of this holiday but at least it always gets a laugh. Better than his co-workers thinking he is a nut case!

In our house, this holiday is celebrated with zeal! Of course we have Star Wars cookie cutters, Star Wars masks, plush toys, key chains and all the movies. Heck we even have most of the Star Wars lego sets (all assembled and behind locked cabinet so wandering hands can't take them apart). Daddy has at least 5 Star Wars t-shirts and a pair of Darth Vader underwear / boxers. I'm not making this up.

Did you know that I had never seen a Stars Wars movie until I met your father? I had no clue about the Death Star, Millenium Falcon, Bobo Fet or light sabers or the Force. I had heard of Yoda. Who happens to be your favorite character. You endearingly refer to him as "oda" the y lost somewhere in translation. To celebrate Star Wars Day we made Star Wars cookies but I forgot to put the Star Wars apron on you (it's a child's size and wouldn't fit Daddy, darn!).

Daddy has had a love of Star Wars from the time he was little. He remembers going to see the movies when they first came out in theaters in the late 70s / early 80s with his father and brother. I can't deny him the pleasures of his childhood. I wonder what will be the unforgettable movie or characters that you will fondly remember and drive your spouse crazy with?

I will leave you with some pictures from our 2010 Christmas card. You guessed it: thr card was Star Wars themed. One day soon you will deny that you are related or even know your father and I. Then, way, way in the future, you will joyously recall all the crazy shit your parents did that embarassed you. May the Fourth Be With You NVJ.